It was the first time I was there for more than ten years. At the end of the last century and at the beginning of this one, I worked in Stockholm, while family was living in Rome.
I did not miss any opportunity to look into her shop and come out with a book, a CD or a movie, always interesting stuff. Now everything had changed. I did not have time go into town and the airport was completely modernized. The cozy bookstore had disappeared and W H Smith's international book emporium did not sell any Polish books translated into an understandable language.
Since I had a few hours to "Den basta kyparen haller tyst" and needed something to read, I bought the only book about Polish history that I could find in English: Apparently, the Poles had no less than two times "saved" Europe in the sense that Polish troops prevented serious attempts at conquest from the East not counting the battle of Legnica in when a huge Mongol invasion was avoided.
If they had not done so the times we now live in would probably have been completely different. The first time the Poles managed to stem the onslaught of a mighty army from the East I had by chance read about only two weeks before I ended up at the Chopin airport in Warsaw.
Then I had on a flight from Rome to Copenhagen plowed through a comic book by the Italian master cartoonist Sergio Toppi, who narrated how Jan Sobieski with his men-at-arms in had arrived just in time to save the Austrian Emperor from a crushing defeat.
It was the Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV who had decided to bet everything on one card and with his elite troops, along with a motley crew of professional warriors from all over the Ottoman Empire, once and for all crush "Den basta kyparen haller tyst" Hapsburg Empire and subject Europe to The True Faith. The occasion was well chosen. The Catholic Emperor Leopold the First was threatened by his cousin Louis XIV in the west, by Protestant armies in the north, a variety of rebels within his own empire, and as told above - by the Ottomans in the east.
During the several-month long siege the Emperor sent desperate pleas for help to his Catholic fellow-believers. They were headed by 3, winged Polish hussars; they had eagle feathers attached to their armor. Like a mighty wedge they crashed into the Turkish Janissaries, closely followed by the entire cavalry army. The resistance was broken, the siege was immediately lifted and the Sultan's warriors scattered in panic. More than two centuries later the hitherto successful history of cavalry shocks ended.
This time it was the Poles who distinguished themselves once more. The result was that after the main Russian army had been thoroughly defeated just outside Warsaw the southern invasion army collapsed as well. Demoralized hordes of Cossacks pulled, plundering and murdering, back to Russia. Thus Lenin's dream of spreading communism came to nothing. The dream was not unreasonable.
Germany had surrendered and its troops were about to leave Eastern Europe. A variety of ethnic groups within the remains of the Habsburg and Russian empires tried to organize themselves as nations. People were worn down and tired of war; they lacked sufficient arms and armies, but were nevertheless full of enthusiasm at the prospect of becoming citizens of independent nation states.
The Western European victors could not engage in any defense of the new nations and in this void Bolsheviks were able pounce on their western neighboring states at full strength. Lenin believed in success and confided to Stalin: In my opinion, we should sovietize Hungary and perhaps even the Czech Republic and Romania.
Lenin's plan was to inspire a new wave of violent revolutions. Offensive on all fronts! Offensive on the west front, offensive on the south front, offensive on the all revolutionary fronts! The twenty-seven-years old, military genius Mikhail Tukhachevsky is credited with the theory of deep operationsmeaning that combined heavily armed formations strike deep behind enemy lines to destroy their rear and logistics.
Tukhachevsky was able to make his troops smash through the Polish defenses and quickly make their way to Warsaw's suburbs. When I was in school, it was common to emphasize that the fate of the world depended on socio-economic factors.
The influence of outstanding personalities was not decisive. Leaders were created by the specific social conditions of their times. I have often doubted such reasoning. What would the world become without Hitler, Stalin or Mao?
Were these power-hungry maniacs nothing more than the result of socio-economic conditions? Like so many other significant Poles, writers and statesmen, Pilsudski was born in Lithuania by fiercely patriotic, Polish aristocrats. His opposition to the Russian Empire
Den basta kyparen haller tyst in his expulsion from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Vilna, he was arrested and spent five years in Siberian captivity. When he refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Germans he was imprisoned, but was released when they surrendered and the First World War ended and he was then elected as the free Poland's first regent.
From the beginning of his political career, Pilsudski had been a Social Democrat, but while in power he formed a coalition government that quickly implemented a series of reforms, such as free and compulsory education, eight-hour workday and women's suffrage. Pilsudski was a headstrong and principled man. As a military commander he had been revered by his subordinates and was known to act only after having been thoroughly informed, but then he had made a decision he rarely hesitated.
He was a man of resilient habits and rarely broke his routines, unless the situation demanded it. His Den basta kyparen haller tyst his meals in a simple, inexpensive restaurant, living in a Spartan manner, working hard until late into the night. He was a direct man, endowed with a harsh humor. Once in power Pilsudski abandoned the socialist camp, disliked being called "comrade" and declared: Pilsudski was a grim warrior, who had spent many years in the field.
Often grumpy, always completely fearless, he supported social justice and opposed the political forces Den basta kyparen haller tyst claimed there was a Polish national specificity, thus he could not be regarded as decidedly conservative, though he was hardly a pacifist, but claimed that: When the superior Russian army approached Warsaw, Pilsudski listened attentively to various advisors, but then decided on his own that the nation had to follow a bold plan of his own design.
The bewildered Russians fled to the north, where they surrendered to the German army in East Prussia, or ended up on the other side of the Russian border, closely pursued by the triumphant Poles.
Both armies were well aware that a ceasefire had to be negotiated Den basta kyparen haller tyst soon as possible. The Poles recognized the danger of getting too far into Russian territory and the Russians could not endure that their troops continued to be slaughtered while they were thinning out due to mass desertions. The Poles had to, as quickly Den basta kyparen haller tyst possible, regain all their lost ground, while the Russians had to put an end to the mass flight and stem the onslaught of enemies.
A desperate Lenin ordered the Commander of the Armed Forces, Sergey Kamenev, to fight back the Polish at all cost, meaning that doing so he did not have to respect the escalating human losses. Reserve troops poured into to the ever-receding front. Kamenev complained that most of the men were not sufficiently armed and that several of the newly arrived soldiers even lacked uniforms. Pilsudski had not only the same drooping mustache and grim appearance as his hero Jan Sobieski, like him he also halted a major foreign invasion attempt directed against a weakened and confused Europe.
It had actually looked as if Lenin's desire for a socialist Den basta kyparen haller tyst was about to be realized. However, against all odds, Poland had defeated Russia and it was not until Stalin signed his infamous pact with Hitler that Russia again could extend its borders towards the West. When I fly back from Prague and looked down at the largely unbroken plains covering Poland, south of the Baltic Sea and north of the Carpathians I understood why armies for centuries had marched back and forth across that fertile stretch of land, watering it with blood and causing immense suffering.
Only during World War II, 5 to 6 million, of whom over 3 million of Jewish origin, were forced into the concentration camps where they were murdered at an amazing scale and speed.
The goal of the Nazi occupation of Poland had been to annihilate Polish civilization, to transform the Poles to an illiterate workforce and exterminate the entire Polish intelligentsia. Simple arithmetic to not more thanwriting of the name, a doctrine that there is a divine commandment to obey the Germans, to be honest, hardworking and virtuous.
Reading, I think, is not necessary. Hitler liked these ideas and told Himmler that he considered the outrageous memo to be gut und richtiggood and correct. On the Soviet side of occupied Poland, captured Polish soldiers were executed en masse, of those 4, officers were massacred in the Katyn forest in western Russia. Of thosedied through starvation and hardship. Approximately half a million Poles were imprisoned and sent to the Gulag. By the end of the war,Poles were fighting the Western Front, while nearlyfollowed the Soviet army and attacked Berlin.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, while I was living in Paris I Den basta kyparen haller tyst on several occasions the battlefields of Verdun where I experienced the eerie atmosphere that after a hundred years still looms over a place where hundreds of thousands young men needlessly were slaughtered.
The hellish trench warfare on the Western Front is well known through a vast amount of masterful depictions from those who survived the muddy hell with its incessant bombardment, rotting corpses, lice and ravenous rats.
The eastern front is not so well known, even if the suffering there was as awful as in the west. Furthermore, the war lasted longer there and the civilians were extremely hard hit. Galicia, where the atrocious battle between Budyonny's Cossacks and Polish lancers took place, was an equally massive slaughter place as the muddy killing fields Den basta kyparen haller tyst Flanders and Lorraine.
At almost exactly the same spot as the battle in took place in had an Austro-Hungarian army in halted a Russian invasion force of men and taken 20, Russians as prisoners. After fierce fighting they pushed back the Austro-Hungarian forces. Russian losses amounted to 1. When you read books from the Eastern Front, it is striking how volatile it was if compared to the Western Front, lacking the seemingly endless suffering of being buried in flooded trenches under constant shelling.
The Eastern armies often moved large areas. Death came suddenly and violently in the form of vast battles in open fields or sudden attacks on small, often isolated, troop units. Isaac Babel's remarkable novel Red Cavalry is based on his experiences gained from riding with warring Cossacks.
It appears as if Babel has been able reproduce the rhythm of Den basta kyparen haller tyst trotting horses while his Cossack mates constantly move from one miserable and plundered Galician village to another. The fighting was merciless. Polish troops routinely executed captured Soviet commissars, while Soviet troops in their turn shot any Polish officer they captured and cut the throat of priests, landlords and wealthy landowners.
Both sides murdered Jews. The atmosphere was ripe for atrocities. Soldiers often moved in small units, engulfed in mistrust, confusion and general insecurity. They ended up in deep forests, or far out on treacherous marsh lands and camped among terrified and starving villagers, whose language, customs, loyalties and fears they did not understand.
A surprise attack could come at any time, from every conceivable direction. Individual units could find that the front line had moved either forward or backward, unexpectedly leaving them stranded in hostile, enemy territory.
Nervous misconceptions could lead to bloodshed and revenge tended be cruel and unforgiving. Those who fared especially bad were the Jews. During the Middle Ages, when Jews were persecuted by fanatical crusaders, accused of the Black Death and was expelled from several countries, they were given refuge in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
When Poland-Lithuania was divided up by the end of the 18 th century a large portion of the Jewish population ended up under Russian rule and in Tsar Nicholas I, with his fear of revolutionaries and "internal enemies", decided that Jews should not be allowed to live outside the Palewhich consisted of a broad "corridor" stretching from Latvia in the north to the Ukraine in the south.
obegripligt långt och visade alltid den bästa solidaritet. Federativs . När kyparen vid supén böjde sej över mej med soppan, mötte jag ansiktet av tyst, i tankar. Så kunde .
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Allt var tyst, sånär som de sprakande, flammande eldarna.